• Published 21st Jan 2017
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The First Wonderbolt - Essay Jay

When an unnatural phenomenon sends Rainbow Dash back in time, she must adapt to an Equestria at war while all the while looking for a way to get back home.

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Issue 3.2 - When Help Means Everything

The cabin shook as the winds tore around the plane at high speeds. The three ponies in said cabin were all at varying levels of focus, and each were coping with being so high in the air. Luster Belle at the helm was grinning wildly, checking and rechecking each gauge and light fixture in the cockpit. Russet merely smiled at Belle’s enthusiasm, all the while gripping her foreleg-rests a little tighter with each new bump.

Rainbow on the other hoof stared listlessly out a window, staring down at the dark landscape below. She could feel the air rushing past them and knew that it was still nothing compared to what her fastest speed was before she had been left stranded in time. Just as well, with her heightened senses, everything she could sense she knew was factual. Gripping her shield, she made sure she still had her… her gun, and continued flexing her wings.

“Woohoo!” Luster Belle said. Checking her readings and referencing with Russet who held a map, she turned to look back at Rainbow. “Miss Dash, we are almost at the destination, and might I say, it’s great to finally able to use this thing for what it’s designed for. Speed and reconnaissance!”

Rainbow smiled softly in her direction while Russet sighed. “That’s the fifth time you’ve said that since we left the field. I’m sure Rainbow has gotten the message, although knowing we’re almost there is a slight comfort.”

It was Rainbow’s turn to sigh. “No, it’s okay Russet. Let Belle enjoy her fun.”

“Thanks, Cap,” Belle chuckled. “But yeah, we’re almost at wherever you said we were going- (“A facility near the town of Lockwood based near the mountains,” Russet interjected) and so you better get ready for jumpoff.”

Rainbow nodded and began to fully flex her wings. She grabbed them and stretching them just a bit farther before doing the same for her legs, until she realised something Belle had said. “Wait, Belle, you do know I’m not actually a captain of anything, right? And you also know I think the name ‘Captain Equestria’ is stupid, right?”

Belle and Russet laughed in the cockpit. “Oh yeah, I’m sure everypony in Equestria knows that name is stupid, but what else are we supposed to call ya? And ‘sides, you’re called a captain, it’s good enough for me, and if you ask me, I’d tell you you’re pretty much a captain of the entire war, what with all the ponies you’ve been recruiting and all the services you’ve been boosting.”

Thinking, Rainbow glanced up at the helmet rested on her head and smirked. “Just call me a Wonderbolt. That’s what I am. It was my title and I’m still proud of it even if I’m right here.”

“The Wonderbolt?” Russet said, “Sounds strangely fitting, I should say. Just look at the headlines now, ‘The Wonderbolt saves Platoon, joins war efforts in full force’!”

“Come on, Russet,” Rainbow groaned, “I’m not The Wonderbolt, I’m a Wonderbolt. There’s more of me.”

“Really?” Belle asked, “Because I’ve never heard of ya before. If anything, you could be leading a platoon soon yourself and be called ‘The Wonderbolts’. And since you’re the leader and made it all up, you’d be the first of them. Just think, having the title of ‘The First~’!”





The plane shook from the concussive forces that were now ringing all around them. They all gripped to something tight as their craft wobbled, and Rainbow’s smile dropped to her gritting her teeth. With a glance outside, she could see plumes of glowing red flame and magic bursting randomly around them… but they were getting closer.

“Just get me as close as you can!” Rainbow shouted over the din of explosions. “And thanks for this! You’re both going to get in trouble, so double thanks!”

“And you won’t?” Russet shouted back.

“Where I’m going, I can knock ‘em out! Plus, I have this!” Rainbow knocked on her shield, and another shell blew right beside them.

“It’s now or never, Cap!” Belle yelled and the door to the outside flew open. Almost immediately Rainbow could feel the buffeting winds and the pressure of the air… and she grinned.

“Stay safe girls!” Rainbow cried before jumping out shield first.

Hitting the wind at such a speed felt like a huge slap to the side. She was almost surprised to not even feel the effects on her. At that moment she regretted forgetting to bring her reliable pair of flight goggles, cracked as they were. Looking up from her freefall, she could see the plane beginning to circle around, already so far away from her after she had left it’s pocket of speed. Seeing it ascend above the clouds, she knew it would be safe for the time being, and she clasped her shield onto her back.

Turning her attention back down, she squinted into the night, and closed her eyes, feeling the wind.

She was so close. Close to the ground. Enough that… there!

Her wings shot open to their full span and she opened her narrowed eyes. Hollering, she laughed from the intense rush of wind. Glancing from side to side, she observed her wings to be nearly a third bigger than when she wasn’t enhanced, and she could still fold her wings in so that they looked like normal pegasus wings. Grinning, she sped even closer to the ground before tilting a few feathers just right, slowing her down to the point where she snapped her wings closed and dropped the last few metres to the ground at a still-incredible speed.

Breaking a few branches from stray evergreens she fell into and barely feeling their sting, she rolled into the ground to spread her momentum before sticking a hoof out. The hoof then shot her a good couple of feet into the air where she spread her remaining hooves out, and shot into a speedy gallop. Marvelling out how she was somehow able to calculate all the right variables in the few split seconds it took for her to reach the ground, she laughed.

“Still awesome,” Rainbow whispered to herself, and she raced across the forest, the only sounds that could be heard being the soft crunch of snow and leaves that her hooves made. She had seen the facility in the distance, so she knew the general direction that she had to go. That didn’t mean she couldn’t have some fun.

Soon enough though, she saw a short clearing that stretched on horizontally; a road. Narrowing her eyes and breathing a cloudy breath in the cold night, she slowed down. Taking her time, she trotted closer to the edge of the road, trying her best to silence her own hoofalls. By the looks of things, there were fresh wheel tracks in the ground along with day old hoof tracks. Pursing her lips, Rainbow’s ears flicked. Her ears turned to the source, and she quickly hid behind a tree as a large armoured vehicle passed by. Rainbow hesitated to call it a car, but it had four wheels, so she shrugged and ran up to it.

Finding herself easily able to keep up with it at its seemingly amble pace, she saw the flaps to its storage area. With a moment of brilliance, she grinned and shot in, landing perfectly and with barely a sound. Sitting down on the benches that she found inside, she rested her head on the canvas before turning to look at the two ponies she neglected to acknowledge at first.

“Hey guys, how’s it hangin’?” Rainbow grinned. The two ponies glanced at each other before looking at her again, and Rainbow’s smile stretched wider. “Thought you’d never ask.”

As one of them brought their gun up, Rainbow used that split second and grabbed her shield from her back to throw it point-side first, smacking the gun up. She then leapt forward, jumping at the slower of the two and punching him into the canvas. Grabbing her shield just as it was about to hit the ground, she smacked the first of the two across the face, knocking him straight into the bench.

Shaking her mane, Rainbow giggled. “Phew!” Rainbow said, “Nice warmup to get the blood pumping, and a shot wasn’t even fired! Sweet.”

Now all she had to do was wait until this cargo thing went to the facility. Realising she now had nothing to do but watch over two ponies who thought they could beat her, she sighed.

“Whelp, I hope it’s not that long.”

It only took another half hour according to her own internal clock. That was weird for Rainbow. She had never had an internal clock before, but now it was like she always knew the time. She only needed a glance at a clock to readjust if it changed in anyway. Which it shouldn’t.

As the truck came to a stop, she patted the heads of the unconscious soldiers and shrugged. “Fun ride guys, but I feel like you both were a little out of it. Maybe next time!” Going to the opening in the canvas, she waited a little longer until she sensed somepony coming to check inside the truck, and she hid behind her shield. Seeing the light intensify around her as the guardpony checked inside, she waited a second before slamming her shield forward, hearing a satisfying twang and a loud crumpling sound.

Jumping out, she landed with four taps just before glancing left and right. Seeing a vast compound filled with vehicles of all kind, she rushed towards it quickly, keeping her body low to the ground. Slipping in between each vehicle, she took some time to marvel at their glistening crystal shells, and their seemingly complex makings. Maybe she could ride one of them in the future.

Shaking the thought away, she focused on not getting caught. Weaving her way closer to a small branch off of the main building, she looked around her to make sure no one was looking before stretching her wings wide and flapping once. The aerial boost it gave her allowed for her to land on the roof with the perfect amount of clearance to be able to hug the roof. Making her way to a roof hatch, she opened it and entered the building.

She could see a door at the end of the hallway she was in, so, looking behind her, she rushed towards it and tried it. Locked. Grumbling to herself, she sighed until a brilliant idea came to mind. Seeing a soldier standing just a few metres away from the door, she knocked on it and hide away from the window. Just as she heard the pony’s footsteps come closer and saw the door open, she pulled it wide open and swung her shield up, knocking him out completely. As the body fell forward, Rainbow caught the pony and dragged it into the hallway.

Hoping nopony had seen the action, she sidled up against the nearest large pillar and sneaked around into the nearby machinery. Running along the aisles, she could hear the loud chatters and bangs of workers and machinery, and she gulped. She had never really been one for subtlety, and suddenly realising this, she hoped the serum had enhanced her sneakiness too. Gulping, she nearly ran into a table piled with glowing capsules of… energy? Grabbing one in her hoof, she could almost feel the amount of power contained in just one cartridge. Frowning as it’s light glowed against her visage, she pocketed it and took a few more.

Looking around once more to check on her credibility, she smirked and dashed out of the area.

Weaving her way in and out of surprisingly empty hallways, she scrambled against a door. She held her breath as a guardpony walked by and closed her eyes. As a second passed, then two, she heard the hoofsteps lessen and she nodded to herself. Taking another view of her surroundings, she found a map helpfully stationed beside the door she had squashed herself against. She looked it over and smiled. She knew where they were.

Running quickly, she found the prison cells guarded by no less than four ponies. Looking at them all, she blinked and smiled. She knew what she needed to do. Running forward, she smashed into the nearest guard, bringing them down instantly. In the next second, before the others could react, Rainbow stretched her wings and flapped them in the direction of her next victim. Slamming the shield forward, the guard flew into the wall. With only two left, Rainbow threw her shield point-side first at the third guard, incapacitating them.

With just one left, Rainbow blew the bangs out of her face. The guard raised their gun. Rainbow smiled. As she sensed them pull a trigger, she leapt out of the way before grabbing her own gun and aiming it straight at they’re… clack-a-clack! The gun bounced of their armoured face, startling them and giving Rainbow the perfect opportunity. She flew at the guard with her hindlegs outstretched and they were down for the count.

Wiping a little bit of perspiration from her forehead, she smiled at the prisoners below. “Hiya!”

They looked up at her in confusion. “And who are you supposed to be?” one of them asked,

Rainbow cocked her head to the side and smirked. “I’m The Wonderbolt, or Captain Equestria. Just call me ‘Cap’ for short.” She watched as they looked at each other with uncertainty, and she mentally laughed. Oh well. She searched the four guards for the keys and swiped them.

Going down to the floor below, she unlocked all the gates to each cell holding at least a dozen soldiers. Patting herself a job well done, she smiled widely. She felt so good. Clearing her throat, she put all the attention on herself. Any chattering or muttering among the prisoners quickly hushed.

“Alright y’all, better listen up if you want to get out of here alive!” She waited a few seconds only making sure she had everyone’s rapt attention. “There’s at least three corridors from here until you’re homefree. Two rights and a left! You’ll find a guard or two conked out right beside a door. That’s your ticket out of here! Use that, and give all those imperials the smackdown! The tree line is only 80 yards away from when you get out, so make it quick, and make it fast! Give ‘em hell!”

As they gave a quiet cheer and several nods, they began to file out. Doing so with them, Rainbow quickly asked the nearest soldier “Hey, do you know a pony named ‘Ember Wing’? I’m looking for him.”

The soldier responded with “I know him, but he went into the isolation ward. As far as we know… nopony’s come back out of there alive.”

Rainbow winced and stood in place, allowing the rest of the crowd to file around her eagerly. The soldier she had asked only smiled sadly before joining the mass of faces. Watching their ranks file into the corridors and eventually disappear, she resorted to listening to their quickly hastening and retreating footsteps. Gulping, she looked around her.

“Crud cakes.”

Running to the opposite end of the room, she entered a different hallway and looked for another map. Spotting one at the end of the hall, she ran up to it and put her hoof against it, mumbling each hall and room name until- there! The Isolation Ward! Licking her lips, she looked for it’s relation to her position. It was on the highest floor and about two corridors away. Glancing to her left, she eyed a stairwell. This would be easy.

Racing up its flights, she found herself seeing at least a dozen guards making their way down the hall opposite of her. Smirking, she winced as she heard at least several dozen explosions rock the compound. The soldiers must’ve been roughing things up. Made her job easier at least. With a nod of approval as she saw plumes of smoke rising outside, she burst through the doors and raced down the halls.

Knowing she was nearing her destination, she rounded the last corner and slid to a stop. There, exiting the same room she was going to was a crystal pony decked out in a coat and fedora. As they locked eyes, he (for he was most certainly a he) widened his own before racing away like a coward.

Frowning, Rainbow glanced from him to the room. He wasn’t worth it. With a shake of her mane, she bounded into the room. “Ember?” she called. “Ember Wing! Are you in here?!”

She could hear a few moans and mumblings. Her ears flicked towards the sound and she followed their direction. Seeing the silhouette of a pony splayed on a mattress, she ripped the curtains open and saw a pegasus with nearly all his extremities tied down and a dazed look on his face.

“Ember Wing?” asked Rainbow.

The pegasus smiled goofily. “Who’s askin’?”

Rainbow rolled her eyes and looked to the side. “Now I know where she got her humour from.” Rainbow turned back to him and patted him lightly. “Don’t worry Ember, we’re getting you out of this in one piece. You’ve got a daughter to come back to.”

“F-Firefly?” Ember Wing blinked, his eyes trying to focus on Rainbow. “Is th-that you?”

“Unless she grew four feet and rainbow hair, I don’t think so,” Rainbow joked, and began untying him.

“Heh, you got spunk,” he muttered, sluggishly waving his now free hoof around.

“Definitely too much for my own good, but whatever gives me attention, eh?”

Ember smiled droopily. “I bet you that hair isn’t even real.”

Rainbow glanced at her own locks and laughed. “You’d lose.”

“Whatever it takes to pay the bills,” he mumbled before sliding off the bed in an attempt to walk on his own. As he took a step, he tottered and began to fall forward. He almost looked surprised as he hit the ground face-first, and Rainbow winced.

“Yeaaaaaah you’re not going anywhere without me.” Rainbow quickly hauled him over her back before a large explosion rocked the entire world. As the rumbling settled for the moment, Rainbow glanced outside the observation window of the room and saw fireballs coming from within the building itself. Frowning, she looked at all the pieces of ceiling and platform falling.

“Alright!” Rainbow shouted, “Time to get out!”

It was definitely a bit harder to maneuver with a pony draped across her back, but she found it really didn’t make that much of a difference. She just had to be a little more careful with how she moved so Ember wouldn’t fall off her back.

As they cantered through the hallways, Ember continued to groan, incoherently saying things to himself and shuddering. Pursing her lips, she found the stairwell blocked by it’s own doorway, collapsed under parts of the roof. Wincing, Rainbow doubled book and recalled the map, remembering there was a gangway across the main area she had sneaked through earlier. As she made it, she saw a figure just about to enter a doorway.

She stopped in her tracks, her eagle eyes settling on his figure. He too stopped, before stepping backwards once… and turning his head to smile at her. As he saluted, Rainbow’s eye twitched before he seemed to laugh and disappear behind closed doors. Glancing from the door he disappeared through to Ember Wing and to the railway, Rainbow gritted her teeth. She closed her eyes and breathed.

“Alright Ember Wing, we’re getting out of here,” Rainbow finally said and began to trot across the metal platform, the rumblings of the explosions outside and down below shaking the metal. Rainbow bit down and wiggled her jaw. “Come on…”

As it settled, she yelled and ran across, feeling her hooves hit hard against the metal. It shook and groaned. Finally making it across, she slid, throwing Ember Wing from her back. She turned behind her just in time to see the metal platform snap and fall into the fiery depths below.

“Woohoo!” Ember Wing cried, “Let’s do that again!”

Rainbow sighed and got up, really wanting to just lay down and take a nap like in the good ol’ days. Helping Ember up once more, she notice he seemed a lot more steady. “Hey hotshot,” Rainbow said, “You feeling better?”

“Is the sky blue?” he asked Rainbow.

Rainbow smiled. “Great. Just lean on me if you need help.”

Ember Wing smiled. “Sure thing, skittles.”

Rainbow’s eye twitched.

“Senator Deign, I am sorry to inform you that Captain Rainbow Dash has been announced MIA and presumably KIA in an attempt to save the lives of the one-hundred and thirty-first infantry from the hooves of Hydra over forty kilometres behind enemy lines. As such, Project Rebirth has been shelved and closed until further re-evaluation in the hopes that-”

“Sir, if I may, I have faith in Captain Dash’s abilities and hope for her return,” Russet interrupted, and Bellum turned to glare at her.

“Is that so?” Bellum said. “Well, how splendid, because that’s all it is. Hope! Hope isn’t going to bring her back, and faith is as intangible as a ghost trying to haunt me. This your fault, Agent Russet, and Belle’s too. You roped her into this, you will both face the consequences!”

Russet pursed her lips, staring Bellum straight in the eyes. “Colonel Bellum, with no disrespect, I believe you are blinded by your aspirations for more than an army of one and neglect to see her true potential, which she has set out to demonstrate.”

“I don’t care about your philosophies, Agent, I care about results!” Bellum shouted, and jabbed a hoof at Russet. “And so far, I don’t see a rainbow-maned super soldier nearby. Do you?”

Russet remained standing still. She had no more words to say.

Bellum sighed. “I thought so. Deck Write, let’s continue…” He was interrupted once more when shouts of surprise and confusion rang out throughout the camp. Glancing outside the comfort of his tent, Bellum could see ponies running from their own tents into the dirt roads to see the commotion, and Bellum furrowed his brows.

“What in tarnation is going on out there!?” Bellum cried and marched out.

Russet felt the glimmer of hope in her chest burn twice as bright in the hopes that her friend was alive and kicking, and maybe with a few hundred saved souls to boot. Slowly making her own way out, she watched with the rest of the crowd as what seemed almost like a parade of weary and wary soldiers made their way into the midst of the camp. Leading them all was one Rainbow Dash, who was grinning widely at all the wide eyes and owlish looks she was receiving.

Her mirth, however, died with Bellum’s expression. Glancing backward, she sighed and put on a much more fake smile and marched up to the Colonel.

“Sir,” Rainbow said, “I understand that I have gone against your direct orders and will stand to receive any punishment you deem appropriate.”

Bellum studied Rainbow carefully. Rainbow watched as his gaze flitted from her, to Russet, and finally to all the rescued ponies that were still filing in around them, and the crowd that had gathered. With another moment’s passing, a smile crinkled it’s way onto his face.

“That won’t be necessary,” Bellum finally announced… and patted Rainbow on the shoulder. “The march back here was punishment enough.”

As Rainbow smiled, wider than she had since starting her part in the war, she could hear Russet’s voice call out from among the crowd.
“Let’s hear it for the Captain!”

And then from right beside her, Ember Wing cried “Yeah, The Wonderbolt, let’s go!”

Right then and there, everypony began to cheer. “Hip hip!”


Rainbow smiled as she saw friends reunite after thinking they would never see ach other again.

“Hip hip!”


She saw the beaming face of gratitude Firefly’s father had, and it couldn’t feel better.

“Hip hip!”


But there was still one more thing that needed to happen.

And she would make it happen.